Media freedom alerts

 

Uzbek Journalist on Interpol List Detained

Update: 19 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 02 Oct 2017 Country Ukraine Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index Alert level Level 1
02 Oct 2017 Ukraine B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index Level 1
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On 25 September 2017, a Kyiv court approved a 40-day detention period for Narzullo Okhunjonov, who has been living in exile since 2013. Authorities detained Okhunjonov under an international arrest warrant on 20 September, when he arrived in Ukraine with his family from Turkey to seek political asylum. The authorities noted that his name was on an Interpol list. Uzbekistan filed the international warrant for Okhunjonov on a fraud charge. The journalist, who left Uzbekistan to avoid politically motivated persecution for his reporting, denies the charges. Okhunjonov writes critically, in Uzbek and Russian, from exile for sites including BBC Uzbek about Uzbekistan's authoritarian government, particularly on the the late President Islam Karimov. The journalist arrived in Kyiv from Turkey with his wife and five children. His family is currently in the capital of Ukraine.

Updates

New 19 Oct 2017 : On 5 October 2017, Narzullo Okhunjonov was released from the detention center by a decision of the Kyiv prosecutor’s office.

Judicial Harassment Against Opposition Journalists in Turkey

Update: 19 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 18 May 2017 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 1
18 May 2017 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 1
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New media reports stress the critical situation of the young (27 year old) female Turkish journalist and law student Ayşenur Parıldak, arrested over 9 months ago, and released by court order on 2 May 2017 and immediately re-arrested on the same day on new charges related to the same facts (being a correspondent for the Zaman newspaper). Similarly in mid-April 2017, 12 journalists (Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Yakup Çetin, Bünyamin Köseli, Cihan Acar, Abdullah Kılıç, Oğuz Usluer, Atilla Taş, Hüseyin Aydın, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan, Seyit Kılıç and Yetkin Yıldız) who were arrested on 30 August 2016 for being members of an illegal terrorist organisation were released by a court in Istanbul and immediately re-arrested on charges of “trying to topple the constitutional order and the Turkish government” based on the same facts. In April 2017, in the city of Nusaybin, the female journalist Meltem Oktay, who is working for DIHA news agency was detained for reporting under the state of emergency, was released by a court decision in Mardin and re-arrested immediately on charges of “doing propaganda” by another court in Edirne, Also in the same month in the city of Antalya, 5 detained journalists (out of 8) were released by a court and then re-arrested immediately by another court decision on other charges based on the same facts. In some of these cases, even those judges ordering the release of journalists were prosecuted and suspended for taking these decisions, which raises questions about access to a fair trial for detained journalists. Currently in detention under this alert (5): Atilla Taş, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Meltem Oktay, Oğuz Usluer and Yetkin Yıldız . Alert : 5 detentions

Follow-ups

New 19 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey

"Die Welt" Correspondent in Turkey Deniz Yücel Detained

Update: 19 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 24 Feb 2017 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
24 Feb 2017 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
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Germany daily Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel was taken into custody in Istanbul on 14 February 2017. Mr Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, is accused by Turkish authorities of being a member of a terrorist organisation, spreading propaganda and misusing information, charges refuted by the defendant as well as media organisations. The journalist had reported – like six other journalists working for national news outlets detained at the end of December 2016 – on emails that the hacker collective RedHack had acquired from the private email account of Turkey's Energy Minister Berat Albayrak who is President Erdoğan's son-in-law. The emails allegedly revealed media outlets' control and the use of fake Twitter accounts to influence the public in favour of the ruling AK party. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

30 Mar 2017 : On 30 March 2017, following the rejection of the appeal, Yücel’s lawyers filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court.
28 Feb 2017 : On 27 February 2017, Deniz Yücel was arrested after an Istanbul court ordered him to be jailed pending trial. His lawyers have appealed against his detention.

Follow-ups

New 19 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
02 Mar 2017 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media calls on Turkey to decriminalize journalistic work following arrest of Die Welt journalist

Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown following Failed Coup in Turkey

Update: 19 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 27 Jul 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 1
27 Jul 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI Level 1
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On 25 July 2016, The Turkish anti-terrorism Prosecutor Irfan Fidan has today issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists in the wake of the failed coup against President Erdoğan. According to Anatolian News Agency, the journalists targeted are: Abdullah Abdulkadiroğlu, Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Dönmez, Ali Akkuş, Arda Akın, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bilal Şahin, Bülent Ceyhan, Bülent Mumay, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cevheri Güven, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erkan Akkuş, Ertuğrul Erbaş, Fatih Akalan, Fatih Yağmur, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, İnan Kızılkaya, Kamil Maman, Kerim Gün, Levent Kenez, Mahmut Hazar, Mehmet Gündem, Metin Yıkar, Muhammed Fatih Uğur, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mürsel Genç, Selahattin Sevi, Seyid Kılıç, Turan Görüryılmaz, Ufuk Şanlı, Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Yakup Sağlam and Yakup Çetin. Among those targeted by the warrants was prominent journalist and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily in 2013 for criticising ministers caught up in a corruption scandal, NTV and CNN-Turk reported. On 27 July 2016, journalist Nuriye Akman was taken into custody. On 27 July 2016, Istanbul prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 47 former executives and columnists of Zaman newspaper. Those named in the warrants include the following former columnists and executives : Osman Nuri Öztürk, Ali Akbulut, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış, Hüseyin Döğme, Süleyman Sargın, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Kardıç, Metin Tamer Gökçeoğlu, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ali Bulaç, Bülent Korucu, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural, Hamit Çiçek, Adil Gülçek, Hamit Bilici, Şenol Kahraman, Melih Kılıç, Nevzat Güner, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Sedat Yetişkin, Oktay Vızvız, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Behçet Akyar, Murat Avcıoğlu, Yüksel Durgut, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, Hakan Taşdelen, Osman Nuri Arslan, and Ömer Karakaş. On the same day, Zaman daily columnist, Şahin Alpay, has been detained after police raided his house in the early morning hours. Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, who used to work for Zaman and Today’s Zaman and currently reports for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, was taken by police from her home early on that day too. She has reported in detail about issues concerning the Turkey armed forces, their financial assets, and shortcomings in terms of transparency and accountability. She has suffered for several years from poor health and has need of assured access to medical attention. Currently in detention under this alert (63): Abdullah Özyurt, Abdürrahim Ersöz, Ahmet Memiş, Ahmet Yavaş, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Ali Aşikar, Ali Bulaç, Ali Ünal, Ali Yüce, Ayşenur Parıldak, Aytekin Gezici, Aziz İstegün, Bayram Kaya, Beytullah Özdemir, Cemal Kalyoncu, Cuma Kaya, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Faruk Akkan, Fevzi Yazici, Gökmen Ulu, Gültekin Avcı, Habip Güler, Hakan Aksel, Hakan Taşdelen, Halil Ibrahim Mert, Hanim Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hülya Karakaya, Hüseyin Aydın, Hüseyin Turan, Ibrahim Balta, Ilker Ilkan, İnan Kızılkaya, Lokman Erdoğan, Mediha Olgun, Mehmet Kuru, Mehmet Özdemir, Mümtazer Türköne, Murat Aksoy, Murat Avcioğlu, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mustafa Ünal, Nazlı Ilıcak, Nuri Durna, Nurullah Kaya, Ömer Özdemir, Osman Yakut, Rabia Özkaya, Şahin Alpay, Şeref Yılmaz, Seyid Kılıç, Şirin Çoban, Tuncer Çetinkaya, Ufuk Şanlı, Vahit Yazgan, Vedat Demir, Yakup Çetin, Yalçın Güler, Zafer Özsoy. Alert : 63 detentions

Updates

New 04 Sep 2017 : Burak Ekici, the online editor for daily newspaper Birgün, was ordered arrested on 16 August 2017 on accusations of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Ekici was detained for allegedly having used mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement.
01 Jun 2017 : On 27 May 2017, a Turkish court formally arrested Mediha Olgun (internet editor) and Gökmen Ulu (press correspondent in Izmir), two opposition journalists working for Sözcü daily newspaper for "a story and photographs in the paper revealing where Erdogan was spending his vacation a day before the coup, and a crossword puzzle with the president’s name hidden in it", according to state-run Anadolu news agency. The two jailed Sözcü journalists face charges including “knowingly aiding and abetting the FETÖ terrorist organisation without being part of its hierarchical structure”, and “aiding the assassination attempt of the president”.
13 Apr 2017 : On 11 April 2017 an indictment of journalists and columnists of Zaman daily was filed to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The indictment seeks three consecutive life sentences for the 30 defendants on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. 30 journalists, 21 of whom are already under arrest, were indicted. The defendants include former Zaman writers Mümtazer Türköne, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Şahin Alpay, Mustafa Ünal and Ali Bulaç. The journalists are charged with "attempting a coup d'Etat" for which the prosecutor demands three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Additionally, the prosecutor demands up to 15 years in prison for all the suspects on charges of "membership in a terrorist organisation." Anatolia News Agency reported that the defendants are Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Cuma Kaya, Faruk Akkan, Hakan Taşdelen, Hüseyin Belli, Hüseyin Turan, İbrahim Karayeğen, İsmail Küçük, Mehmet Özdemir, Murat Avcıoğlu, Mustafa Ünal, Onur Kutlu, Sedat Yetişkin, Şeref Yılmaz, Yüksel Durgut ve Zafer Özsoy tutuklu, Ahmet İrem, Ali Hüseyinçelebi, Süleyman Sargın, Osman Nuri Arslan, Osman Nuri Öztürk, Lalezer Sarıibrahimoğlu, Nuriye Ural and Orhan Kemal Cengiz. Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ural and Cengiz are listed as suspects pending trial outside of prison.
31 Oct 2016 : Beytullah Özdemir, the Düzce representative for the newspaper Zaman, was ordered arrested on 27 October 2016 as part of the ongoing investigation into the failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt.
26 Oct 2016 : As of 26 October 2016, the list of detained journalists was updated, adding the following 24 journalists, arrested under State of emergency as part of the coup investigation: Abdullah Özyurt, Ahmet Yavaş, Ayşenur Parıldak, Aytekin Gezici, Aziz İstegün, Bayram Parlak, Cumali Önal, Gültekin Avcı, Eda Şanlı, Halil İbrahim Mert, İbrahim Karayeğen, Kenan Baş, Lokman Erdoğan, Mehmet Kuru, Murat Aksoy, Nurullah Kaya, Nuri Durna, Olgun Matur, Osman Yakut, Özkan Mayda, Tuncer Çetinkaya, Vahit Yazgan, Vedat Demir and Yalçın Güler. Most of them were former Zaman journalists and executives. Additionally, 11 journalists, arrested during the State of emergency outside the coup probe, were also added to the list of detained journalists: Erdem Mühirci, Hülya Karakaya , İlker İlkan, Mehmet Anıl, Mehmet Arslan , Necmiye Alpay, Nizamettin Yılmaz, Rabia Özkaya, Selahattin Koyuncu , Şirin Çoban and Zeynel Abidin Bulut.
18 Oct 2016 : As of 18 October 2016, 35 of the 89 journalists targeted by one of the 2 mass warrants issued after the coup attempt have been arrested : Abdullah Kılıç, Ali Akkuş, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Seyid Kılıç, Ufuk Şanlı, and Yakup Çetin - Şeref Yılmaz, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Ali Bulaç, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Murat Avcıoğlu, , Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, and Hakan Taşdelen. On Oct 12, former Taraf and Zaman columnists Lalezar Sariibrahimoglu and Nuriye (Akman) Ural were released from prison pending trial. An Istanbul Criminal Court decided that there were sufficient grounds for suspecting that both were members of the so-called Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure, or FETÖ/PDY, but also indicated that the case against them would be subject to further assessment to ascertain whether it could be shown to be strong enough to proceed. On that basis they were released from custody on appeal with certain legal controls. Both are banned from travelling abroad. To date, ten journalists have been released: Arda Akın, Bülent Mumay, Mehmet Gündem, and Yakup Sağlam -Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu (Lale Kemal), İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye (Akman) Ural and Osman Nuri Arslan.
05 Sep 2016 : On 2 September 2016, Ahmet Memiş, a reporter for Haberdar news website, was arrested as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Mr Memiş is accused of having been part of the Gülen movement’s “media wing” and is kept in detention at Silivri prison camp.
01 Sep 2016 : In August 2016, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has ordered detention for 34 employers of TRT (Turkey's Public Broadcasting Service) claimed to be users of ByLock, an encrypted communication software allegedly used among members of the Gülen Community. According to Bianet, there are eight TRT employees among journalists taken into custody under the State of Emergency declared on July 20 and put behind bars. The names of the eight former TRT employees are as follows: Ahmet Yavaş (TRT radio Erzurum correspondent), Ali Yüce (TRT radio broadcasting manager), Ersin Şanlı (TRT domestic news manager), Hakan Aksel (TRT News and Sports Department Coordinator Assistant and Producer), Halil İbrahim Mert (TRT TV Erzurum cameraperson), Nuri Durna (TRT Erzurum correspondent), Yalçın Güler (TRT Erzurum correnspondent), Seyid Kılıç (TRT correspondent). Since August 2016, those eight journalists are kept in detention as part of the government’s investigation following the 15 July 2016 coup attempt.
29 Aug 2016 : On 21 August 2016, a court in Van arraigned Ali Aşikar, a journalist working for the Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat, and ordered him jailed pending trial on charges of "committing crimes in the name of [terrorist] organizations" and possessing explosives. Mr Aşikar is kept in detention at Van M type prison since 28 August 2016.
01 Aug 2016 : Abdurrahim Ersöz, a local press correspondent for Cihan news agency In Antalya, was arrested on 28 July 2016 as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked to the movement headed by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Mr Ersöz was arrested along with Antalya correspondent Ömer Özdemir from Zaman newspaper and is kept in detention at Antalya L Type Closed Criminal Infrastructure Authority since July 2016.
26 Jul 2016 : In the early morning of 26 July 2016, journalist and former parliamentarian Nazlı Ilıcak, one of the 42 journalists named in the arrest warrants as part of the post-coup attempt crackdown operations, was detained in the Bodrum district of the Aegean province of Muğla. According to Turkish media reports, six other journalists appearing on the list were also detained: Yakup Sağlam, İbrahim Balta, Seyit Kılıç, Bayram Kaya, Cihan Acar and Hanım Büşra Erdal.

Follow-ups

New 19 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
14 Mar 2017 : Opinion of the Venice Commission on the Measures provided in the recent Emergency Decree Laws with respect to Freedom of the Media
15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan Detained for Words Used on TV

Update: 19 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 13 Sep 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
13 Sep 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , RSF Level 1
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On 10 September 2016, Ahmet Altan (journalist and writer) and his brother Mehmet Altan (professor and journalist) were detained by Turkish authorities for the words they used on the "Özgür Düşünce" programme that was broadcast on Can Erzincan TV on July 14. According to the Anadolu Agency, both journalists are accused of "delivering subliminal messages evoking the coup" and they gave "the impression that they already knew about the coup". Because the prosecutors in charge of the case are currently on holiday, no access to files has been granted to their lawyers and an appeal procedure against the detention has been refused to both defendants. Alert : 2 detentions

Updates

12 Jan 2017 : The Altans legal team has applied to the European Court of Human Rights on 12 January 2017 to challenge the journalists continuing detention. The Altans are still waiting on applications lodged with the Turkish Constitutional Court on 8 November 2016.

Follow-ups

New 19 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey

Turkey: Arrest of At Least 12 Employees of Cumhuriyet Newspaper

Update: 19 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 31 Oct 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
31 Oct 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1
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On 31 October 2016, Turkish police detained at least 12 employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper, Turkey's largest secular, left-leaning paper, and one of the few publications that continues to criticise the government. The detained media workers are accused of membership of, and committing crimes on behalf of, two terrorist organisations: the Kurdistan Workers’ party and the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ), which the government accuses of being behind the failed coup attempt. According to media reports, prosecutors also issued detention warrants for two of the newspaper’s executives, who are both currently abroad. Following police raids, the following people were taken into custody: Murat Sabuncu (Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief); Güray Öz (Cumhuriyet board executive and columnist); Aydın Engin (former editor-in-chief of the newspaper); Hikmet Çetinkaya (columnist); Eser Sevinç, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik (all board members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation); Turhan Günay (Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper’s book supplement); and columnist Kadri Gürsel, who is also the head of the International Press Institute’s Turkey office. Currently in detention under this alert (2): Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu. Alert : 2 detentions

Updates

New 26 Sep 2017 : On 25 September 2017, the Court ruled to release Kadri Gürsel, though he remains on trial on charges of links to terror groups. After completing formalities, he was released from the Silivri prison. The Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay and Murat Sabuncu. Their next hearing is scheduled for 31 October 2017.
New 12 Sep 2017 : On 11 September 2017 a Turkish court Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu and Kadri Gürsel. Their next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
31 Jul 2017 : On 28 July 2017, an Istanbul court released seven Cumhuriyet journalists and executives. Five are to remain under arrest.
14 Nov 2016 : On 12 November 2016, the CEO of daily Cumhuriyet, Akin Atalay, was arrested for “being a member of a terrorist organization” , upon his arrival at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. A detention warrant had been issued for him on 30 October while he was abroad.
08 Nov 2016 : On 5 November 2016, nine journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet daily were placed under formal arrest by the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace. The daily’s columnists Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya were released by the court pending trial. A travel ban was imposed on them. On 4 November 2016, Günseli Özaltay, the accounting manager of the newspaper, and former accounting manager Bülent Yener were released.

Follow-ups

New 19 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
26 Sep 2017 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes the release of Kadri Gürsel and calls for release of imprisoned Cumhuriyet journalists in Turkey.
New 12 Sep 2017 : OSCE Media Freedom Representative renews calls on Turkey to urgently release jailed journalists.
31 Jul 2017 : Cumhuriyet trial interim court decision shows urgency to drop charges and release all imprisoned Turkish journalists, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
25 Jul 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkey to release imprisoned journalists
12 Jun 2017 : On 8 June 2017, the European Court of Human Rights communicated to the Turkish Government the case of Sabuncu and Others v. Turkey. The applicants, ten journalists from the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet placed in police custody and subsequently in pre-trial detention on suspicion of having committed offences on behalf of terrorist organisations and disseminating propaganda for them, complained about their pre-trial detention and its duration, and also submit that there has been a breach of their freedom of expression. They further allege that their detention is a sanction against them for criticising the government and amounts to politically-motivated judicial harassment. They rely in particular on Article 5 § 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security / right to speedy review of the lawfulness of detention), Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights).
15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
31 Oct 2016 : Statement from Secretary General Jagland expressing his concern about state of emergency measures and freedom of expression in Turkey

Injunction Prohibiting Media from Reporting on the Financial Dealings of Iceland Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson

Update: 19 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 18 Oct 2017 Country Iceland Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
18 Oct 2017 Iceland E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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The District Commissioner of Reykjavík issued an injunction on 16 October 2017 against media outlets Stundin and Reykjavík Media, prohibiting them from doing any future reporting on the financial dealings of Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his family with Glitnir bank just before the economic collapse of Iceland in October 2008. The case has drawn sharp criticism from the Journalists’ Union of Iceland and Stundin’s editor considering that the injunction goes against press freedom and freedom of expression in Iceland. The editor of Stundin has learned of the injunction when their offices received a visit from representatives of the District Commissioner and Glitnir demanding to delete all previous reporting that they had done on the Prime Minister’s time as an MP, to hand over all documentation that contributed to this reporting, and to cease all future reporting on the subject referring to concerns on the confidentiality of financial information.

Follow-ups

New 19 Oct 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative concerned about ban on reporting about Icelandic bank

Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed by car bomb

State replied
Year 17 Oct 2017 Country Malta Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
17 Oct 2017 Malta A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been murdered on 16 October 2017, around 3pm, by a car bomb in the town of Bidnija, near her family home. Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was known for her investigative journalism and her blog 'Running Commentary', which was one of the most widely read websites in Malta. In 2016, she was named by Politico as one of the “28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”, after being the first to break news of Maltese politicians’ involvement in the Panama Papers scandal. The journalist had been sued many times for her blog posts in which she revealed several corruption scandals involving Maltese politicians. In February 2017, her bank accounts were frozen and libel suits were filed against her by Maltese Economy Minister and his consultant, following a report revealing that both men visited a brothel during an official trip in Germany. According to media report, Daphne Caruana Galizia had filed a police report 15 days before her death saying she was being threatened.

State replies

New 17 Oct 2017 : Reply of the Maltese authorities

Follow-ups

New 17 Oct 2017 : Shocked by the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Commissioner for Human Rights calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate the case.
New 17 Oct 2017 : CoE Secretary General appalled by the brutal death of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, in a car bombing, calls for a thorough investigation to find those responsible for her death.
New 17 Oct 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative outraged by killing of prominent journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, urges thorough investigation'

Ukrainian Journalist Held on ‘Spying‘ Allegations

Update: 16 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 03 Oct 2016 Country Russian Federation Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
03 Oct 2016 Russian Federation B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1
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The authorities in Russia arrested Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko who is believed to be currently detained in the Lefortovo prison in Moscow, according to human rights organisations. Media reports in Russia said that the 47-year-old Paris correspondent for the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform since 2010 was arrested on his arrival in Russia and was charged with spying, a charge that the agency has strongly refuted. The journalist’s family had been without news of him for two days, after he left Paris for a private visit to Moscow during his leave. Suchchenko reportedly complained that he had been put under psychological pressure and was not allowed to contact his wife to inform her about his arrest. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

16 Oct 2017 : Between November 2016 and September 2017, Courts extended several times the pre-trial detention term of Roman Sushchenko. The last extension runs until 30 November 2017.
30 Nov 2016 : On 28 November 2016, the Lefortovo District Court ordered to extend the pre-trial detention of Mr Sushchenko until 30 January 2017

Bulgarian investigative journalist's car set on fire following warnings about TV reports

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Year 16 Oct 2017 Country Bulgaria Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner AEJ , CPJ Alert level Level 2
16 Oct 2017 Bulgaria C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Unknown AEJ , CPJ Level 2
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On 4 October 2017, a car belonging to Zornitsa Akmanova, a reporter for the TV programme ‘Lords of the Air’, was set on fire in the central Bulgarian town Karlovo. The ‘Lords of the Air’ programme sets out to expose and confront cases of fraud and other dishonest business practices. On the following day, the owner of a local car garage, Plamen Dimitrov, was arrested in connection with the attack on Ms Akmanova’s car. Just a few hours before the arson, the local authorities had closed down Mr Dimitrov’s garage business. Police intervention was prompted by high-profile TV reports by Ms Akmanova alleging Mr Dimitrov’s involvement in a number of acts of fraud against clients. Ms Akmanova has stated that she had previously received several threats warning her to stop reporting on Mr Dimitrov’s activities. On 9 October, Mr Dimitrov was released on bail after being charged on a single count of fraud against a client. No charges have been brought in connection with the burning of Ms Akmanova’s car or the threats she has received. Bulgarian media report that following a number of previous claims made by local people against Mr Dimitrov, three local prosecutors have dropped the investigations on account of his reported relationship with a senior official in the Karlovo municipality. Subsequently those cases were re-directed to the regional prosecutors in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city, but prosecutors there have also declined to carry out investigations against the garage owner. The destruction of Zornitsa Akmanova’s car follows threats and acts of violence against other journalists working for ‘Lords of the Air’. In the recent past another reporter for the progamme, Eva Veselinova, was physically assaulted while filming an investigation into alleged fraudulent practices at a construction company. A third reporter, Dimitar Varbanov, received threats related to his investigations of the activities of a local businessman.

Physical Attack Against Journalist Drago Miljuš

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Year 13 Oct 2017 Country Croatia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
13 Oct 2017 Croatia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1
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On 11 October 2017, index.hr portal journalist Drago Miljuš was standing at the public facility outside police lines covering the police intervention at the Obojena svijetlost beach in Split (Croatia). The intervention was related to a suicide bomber who, unfortunately, came through with his intention. One of the policemen present started driving Miljuš off, first verbally and then by pushing him away. The policeman threw Miljuš mobile phone into the sea. He was joined by a special police force officer who hit the journalist in the head, knocking him down and splitting his lips. After the incident, Miljuš requested medical assistance at the hospital where his lips were stitched. Split police department announced that it has opened an investigation into this incident and will inform the public about its findings.

License for UK Community Radio Station Revoked

Update: 12 Oct 2017 State replied
Year 28 Jul 2017 Country United Kingdom Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 Alert level Level 2
28 Jul 2017 United Kingdom E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 Level 2

On 27 July 2017, Ofcom, the UK regulatory authority for audiovisual media, revoked the community radio licence held by Iman FM, due to "extremely serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code, after [Iman FM] aired material likely to incite or encourage the commission of crime or to lead to disorder". The decision is related to the broadcast of a series of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American radical Muslim cleric. Ofcom launched an investigation into the station, following a complaint from a member of the public at the beginning of July. The radio station's service was suspended on 4 July; and on 27 July, Ofcom issued a decision stating that it will not be reinstated. According to Ofcom's decision, the breach of the Broadcasting Code was particularly serious: the broadcast lectures are clearly extremist, coming from a known figure identified as a terrorist by the United States. Ofcom stated that Iman FM had demonstrated "a fundamental lack of understanding of the basic requirements of compliance in broadcasting", and that a failure to revoke the license would "put listeners and the general public at risk." Ofcom further noted that, although there is no evidence that Iman FM intended to incite crime, the station's failure to fully listen to or check the source of materials that it broadcast "fell substantially below the standards expected of a responsible broadcaster, including one that is run by a team of volunteers." Iman FM has admitted it made a mistake broadcasting the lectures and has issued an apology for it. Freedom of expression groups have raised concerns that Ofcom's decision is disproportionate.

State replies

New 12 Oct 2017 : Response from the United Kingdom Government

Far-right Militants Threatened Novosti Newspaper During Protest

Update: 11 Oct 2017 State replied
Year 19 Sep 2017 Country Croatia Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
19 Sep 2017 Croatia E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state EFJ/IFJ Level 2

On 2 September 2017, members of the far-right Autochthonous Croatian Party of Right (A-HSP) gathered in front of weekly Novosti’s office in central Zagreb and burned a copy of the magazine, which is published by the Serb National Council in Croatia. According to the Western Balkans Regional Platform for Advocacy of Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, A-HSP accused Novosti journalists of spreading hate against Croatians and called on the Croatian government to stop funding the magazine. During the incident, Novosti journalists also faced repeated hate speech through social media and threats - including death threats - according to Novosti editor Nikola Bajto, who said in an interview to Novi list newspaper that the A-HSP threatened Novosti journalists that "they will end up like Charlie Hebdo".

State replies

New 11 Oct 2017 : Response from the Croatian authorities

Threats from Politicians towards Bulgarian TV Journalist Viktor Nikolaev

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Year 11 Oct 2017 Country Bulgaria Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , EBU , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
11 Oct 2017 Bulgaria C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , EBU , Index , RSF Level 2
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Viktor Nikolaev, journalist at NOVA TV, was threatened by an MP for ruling party GERB, Anton Todorov, and Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Simeonov during live broadcast of his TV morning show, on 6 October 2017. Todorov and Simeonov threatened the journalist that he would lose his job if he continued to ask inconvenient questions about the purchase of fighter aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force. The threat immediately raised a wave of concern among journalists in Bulgaria. Both politicians consider this incident as misrepresentation of their words. However, the same day MP Todorov apologised in a Facebook post. He resigned from Parliament on 9 October. On the contrary, Simeonov considered the accusations as slander and asked Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgarian National TV and NOVA TV for an apology otherwise the case will be taken to court. According to him, the media organized a scandalous campaign against him. The Union of Bulgarian Journalists (UBJ) called on Simeonov to resign.

WSJ Journalist Ayla Albayrak Sentenced to Prison by Turkish court

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Year 11 Oct 2017 Country Turkey Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
11 Oct 2017 Turkey C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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On 10 October 2017, a Turkish court sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison, declaring her guilty of engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organization through one of her articles. Ms. Albayrak, who is currently in New York, has announced her intention to appeal the decision. Turkish legal actions against Ms. Albayrak began after the publication on 19 August 2015, on the WSJ's website of her article “Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast.” The article and accompanying video reported on the state of a conflict in Silopi, Turkey, between Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. It included interviews with the local mayor and residents, a Turkish government official, as well as a representative of an organization Turkey says is the youth unit of the PKK. In November of the same year, Ms. Albayrak, who has dual Finnish and Turkish citizenship, received a written order on her door to visit her local police station in Istanbul where she was notified she was under investigation for spreading terrorist propaganda. Ms. Albayrak said in a statement included in the court documents that the original article didn’t include any praise for the group, but rather provided a balanced and objective view of urban warfare that had gripped areas of Turkey’s southeast at the time.

Journalists Targeted by Protesters in Northern Cyprus

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Year 11 Oct 2017 Country Cyprus Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
11 Oct 2017 Cyprus C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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According to Basin-Sen (press workers’ trade union), on 9 October 2017 taxi drivers union (Birleşik Taksiciler Birliği) in Northern Cyprus organised several public demonstrations where journalists and media workers covering the events were systematically targeted and threatened by protesters. The journalists have been exposed to verbal abuse, strong language and assaulted by the taxi drivers all day long. Police forces did not intervene when journalists were under attack, yet they only warned the journalists to stay away from the protestors.

Additional Information

Draft Law Threatens Independence of AGERPRES News Agency

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Year 09 Oct 2017 Country Romania Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 2
09 Oct 2017 Romania E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 2
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A new draft law, which risks threatening the independence of the national news agency AGERPRES, will be discussed on 11 October 2017 by the Romanian Parliament. The draft law foresees that any political majority could decide to dismiss the director-general by rejecting AGERPRES’ anual report, whereas the current law stipulates that the director-general has a 5-year mandate and cannot be biased, meaning promoting the ideas, the programmes and the activities of the political parties. Such provisions would have the same impact as the legislation regulating the management of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation (SRR) and the Romanian National Television Corporation (SRTV): following each election, the SRR and SRTV administration boards can be dismissed before the end of their mandates to reflect the new political forces and many media freedom organisations had denounced this provision as an instrument to politicize the public service media. In a letter addressed to Parliament, AGERPRES’ general-director and the Romanian trade union of journalists said: “We believe that the proposed modification opens the path to a political subordination of the AGERPRES management. (…) Any political force could find that the director-general is not ‘loyal’ enough to the government, regardless of the quality of the work, for political reasons only. It must be abandoned.” The draft law has been initiated and submitted by Lucian Romascanu, now Minister of Culture, while he was president of the Culture Committee of the Romanian Senate. The proposal was also signed by four other senators.

Follow-ups

02 May 2017 : The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights makes a reference to the emerging trend of threats to the independence of public broadcasters or of their regulatory bodies.

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

15 Dec 2016 : Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on public service media governance (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 15 February 2012 at the 1134th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

Turkish-Swedish Journalist Detained at Airport Following Request by Turkey

Update: 05 Oct 2017 State replied
Year 09 Aug 2017 Country Spain Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
09 Aug 2017 Spain B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Level 1

Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçın, who also holds a Swedish passport, was detained by passport police at the El Prat airport in Barcelona on 3 August 2017, where he was vacationing. Police reported to Spanish news agency EFE that he was held by police following Interpol order, Turkish news website Diken reported. The next day he was arrested on charges of “insulting the Turkish president” and “terror propaganda” for an article he wrote for Odak magazine. A group of Swedish journalists have condemned the detention in an open letter, asking the Swedish Government to intervene. Yalçın has lived in Sweden since 1984.

Updates

New 29 Sep 2017 : On 29 September 2017, the Spanish Government decided not to extradite Hamza Yalçin to Turkey.
New 29 Sep 2017 : On 28 September 2017, a Spanish judge has granted provisional release from custody of Hamza Yalçin, after Pen International and the Barcelona City Council guaranteed to the court that they would house him in Spain while the extradition claim is being assessed.

State replies

New 05 Oct 2017 : Reply from the Spanish authorities

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

09 Oct 2017 : PACE resolution on abusive recourse to the Interpol system: the need for more stringent legal safeguards

Germany: Draft Bill on Social Networks Raises Serious Free Expression Concerns

Update: 05 Oct 2017 State replied
Year 28 Apr 2017 Country Germany Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI Alert level Level 2
28 Apr 2017 Germany E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI Level 2

On 5 April 2017, the German Cabinet approved the Draft Bill on the Improvement of Enforcement of Rights in Social Networks. The stated aim of the bill is to combat hate speech and disinformation online; however, human rights and internet freedom organisations have expressed concern that it would enable disproportionate censorship online. The Bill is now due to be debated by Parliament. The Draft Bill proposes a system, whereby ‘Social Networks’ would face severe administrative penalties (fines) for failing to remove content that violates 24 already-existing provisions of the German Criminal Code – including offences as varied as “defamation of religions” (blasphemy), defamation of the President of the Federation, criminal defamation and insult, and denial of National Socialist-era crimes, among others. This obligation applies without a determination of the legality of the content at issue by a court, and with no guidance to Social Networks on respecting the right to freedom of expression. Critics of the Bill argue that intermediaries are not competent to make these complex factual and legal determinations, and that the Draft Bill provides no recourse to redress for users whose content is blocked or deleted unfairly pursuant to the Draft Bill. Critics further argue that there is a high likelihood of Social Networks over-vigorously deleting or blocking content, due to the legal uncertainty pervading the Draft Bill. This includes ambiguities in the term ‘Social Network’, meaning a number of online media could be affected; and an unclear threshold for determining whether a social network’s response to illegal content is “inadequate’ and therefore should incur penalties.

Updates

New 05 Oct 2017 : The Network Enforcement Act entered in force on 1 October after having been approved by the Parliament in June.

State replies

Follow-ups

New 05 Oct 2017 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media warns Germany social networks law could have disproportionate effect.

Armenian TV Station Editor Assaulted While Reporting on Road Building Project

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Year 05 Oct 2017 Country Armenia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner AEJ Alert level Level 2
05 Oct 2017 Armenia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state AEJ Level 2
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On the evening of 28 September 2017, Narine Avetisyan, the chief editor of Lori television station in Vanadzor, Armenia's third largest city, was violently assaulted while filming the asphalting of a road in heavy rain. Local media and the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA) Vanadzor human rights network reported that Tigran Nazaryan, the head of the Shinplus construction company, and some of his colleagues, assaulted Narine Avetisyan, throwing her to the ground and seizing the mobile phone she was using to film the work. Reports say the mobile phone was later found with the video images of the asphalting work deleted. HCA Vanadzor and the Yerevan Press Club have called on state prosecutors and other relevant authorities to investigate the case diligently and to bring those responsible to justice. Narine Avetisyan has reportedly been attacked five times while on various journalistic assignments. In the first four cases she was reporting on corruption-related stories involving local officials and no perpetrators were so far identified or charged.

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